Role conflict; role ambiguity; frontline employee; departmental stores; customers; stress


Rapid developments in the Indian Economy post-liberalization in 1991 have prompted institutions like the World Bank to forecast that India would be the fourth largest economy in the world by 2020 (Budhwar and Bhatnagar, 2009). Following globalization this has attracted a large numbers of foreign investors and companies to India. HRM in India has evolved as a specialised function (Budhwar and Bhatnagar, 2009). According to Budhwar and Bhatnagar, 2009 India had a long history of labour legislation and industrial relations and there are many challenges to the HRM systems in India, due to the diverse nature of India’s society which is marked by regional, sectoral, socio-cultural and political variation. In such a climate it is extremely difficult to have a uniform HR system. According to Wheatherly and Tansik (1993) employees have to deal with the demands from superiors as well as the needs and wishes of customers. Because of such a boundary spanning role, the retail frontline employees are in dilemma whether to customize the retail services as per customers needs or to obey the organizational guidelines and procedures (Bitner, 1990). This dilemma often leads to job role stress. There are different types of job role stress (Pareek, 1993) of these the research under study deals with the two job role stressors prominent in retail industry job role conflict and job role ambiguity ( Kahn, 1964). According to Heskett et al. (2003) front line employee’s behavior and

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